Monday, May 28, 2007

8 Random Facts About Me

I find myself tagged for yet another meme thingie, again by the fabulous MMWAK, this time to mention eight random things about myself. I will endeavor to make them as random as possible.

1) I get really irritated when people go to the symphony only to cough through the entire performance. Do they not realize that the acoustics of a symphony hall are such that the whole audience hears them? It seriously interfered with my ability to enjoy the music of "Lord of the Rings"!

2) I currently own a Jack Russell Terrier. When we get a house, we're going to get another dog, so he has a companion. I'm pushing for a long-haired miniature dachshund--they're a favorite with my family. My hubby wants a Sheltie.

3) I am currently re-re-re-re-re-reading my James Herriot collection. I love the stories about being a vet in 1930's England. Due to his writing, I was able to remember Brucella abortus--causes infectious abortion in cattle, infects people through unpasteurized milk, causes weird cyclic fevers in humans. If I ever write a novel, I picture myself doing it in a similar fashion, telling the stories that really happened to me.

4) I have most of my wedding pictures back, but I haven't taken them to be put into digital format so that my family can share in them. I am definitely the worst bride ever.

5) I have a real love for TV shows like CSI, CSI: Miami, Law & Order, Law & Order SVU, Law & Order CI, etc. I also used to watch a bunch of "real crime" shows on Court TV and "Dr. G, Medical Examiner" on Discovery Health. Despite all this, I never really considered a career in pathology. I'm not really sure why.

6) I survived getting vomited on during OB/Gyn to say that phlegm is still my least favorite bodily juice.

7) My name, my husband's name, and my dog's name all begin with the same letter. It was an accident--we really didn't consider it until after we'd named the dog. No, I will not make all my kids' names begin with the same letter.

8) I keep buying more plants for my patio, even though I've managed to kill a zinnia and possibly both my petunias this season--they keep getting overwatered since it won't freaking stop raining! We recently added a Mexican Heather (also called the Allison plant) and an aloe vera. I've had to stop myself from buying a bougainvillea--I think they are totally gorgeous, but I don't have any more hooks to hang one from.

If anyone's still reading this, I tag you. At the very least, I tag Ori at The Berry Patch, Gaucho, and Dr. Peanut.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Sex Ed

One of the frustrating parts of this rotation so far is the 14 hours of lecture per week. It's the end of the year and my tolerance for bs is at an all-time low. Sitting in a dim lecture hall to listen to crappy "teaching" is an abuse of my time, imho. Add to that my unrewarding assignment to the forensics unit of the psych hospital (more about this later), and my slipslide into senioritis, and I feel kinda cranky.

The majority of the lectures are given by an old foreign psychiatrist who is totally obsessed with sex. I believe he trained during a time when psychoanalysis held sway, so just like Freud everything comes back to sex. Yesterday, we had two hours of lecture on "Human Sexuality", which should be a useful topic to young doctors-to-be. If he had followed the outlines on his powerpoint slides, we would have thoroughly discussed sexual anatomy, the usual "desire-excitement-orgasm-resolution" curve theory, disorders of the above, gender identity, etc.

All of the above topics were mentioned, but in a very hasty way. The majority of the two hours was spent in tedious anecdotes of sex and really thorough descriptions of his favorite (there are hundreds more--we just learned the ones he likes) disgusting paraphilias, including vomerophilia, klismaphilia, coprophilia, etc. (Look them up--I dare you!) We heard the story of the famous Mexican actor "who advertises the leetle pump" for the fourth time. We heard a story about Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh--supposedly he complained that there was something wrong with her because she was multi-orgasmic--she must be a nymphomaniac! (Although she did have bipolar disorder--she may have been hypersexual while manic, in which case Olivier was actually right). We heard tales of our fearless instructor traveling through Amsterdam to see the prostitutes--"only to see, I don't know how much they cost, of course" and various brothels which cater to certain of the above-mentioned paraphilias.

Instead of really discussing gender identity disorder, he told us about a medical student who refused to work with a post-op transsexual. He wanted to be sure that we all knew what the proper term for a failed resolution phase in the testicles was. He told us about how beautiful it is to see naked people on a nude beach in France--"but of course, France has the highest level of AIDS in Europe."

Basically, instead of a serious lecture on any of these subjects, we listened to a bunch of bizarre, unrelated stories, some of which were entertaining, none of which were educational. Also, they would have been more entertaining if we hadn't had the exact same lecturer with the exact same stories last year in Behavioral Science. Thus, I'd already heard the hilarious story of the coprophilia crystal commode in Amsterdam--not so shocking the second time.

I'm at the point now where I feel like, if I'm not learning anything, I should just go home and watch TV. My time is valuable, dammit! I just wish I wasn't the only person who seemed to think so.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


For the first time since internal medicine in February, I believe, I have washed my white coat. Sadly, the ink stains from various exploding pens are still stuck on my pockets. Oh well. At least it doesn't smell stale anymore.

You're welcome.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

Unbeknownst to me, there has been a backlash against medical blogging here lately. Articles in USA Today among others point out that people are worried that medical blogs invade their privacy or give false medical advice. (Thanks to Kevin MD for hosting that article, and for his great post about the same subject I'm going to try to touch on here). Last year, a well-read blog by an author called "Barbados Butterfly" was shut down after a public outcry at her hospital in Australia. Sadly, even though she has started posting again, it's by invitation only, so since I wasn't fortunate enough to read her work before she left the internet, I'm not fortunate enough to get to read her work now. I understand, though; just because I say I'm a med student in the US doesn't mean I'm not her boss in Australia in disguise. Apparently, you have to be careful.

Within the past week, two great medical blogs have been pulled. Flea, a pediatrician, deleted his writings amongst news of a lawsuit (perhaps not even related to the blog). One of my favorite authors, Fat Doctor, has deleted her blog and will be going to invite-only if she returns to writing, after a coworker printed her blog and gave it to her boss to read. Fortunately, her boss was cool about it, but she went ahead and deleted the blog.

I'm saddened for two reasons. First, all of us readers have lost some of our best daily entertainment. Reading FD's blog was like taking a fast-forward into my future, with all the triumphs and frustrations being a doctor, a wife, and a mother can bring. Reading about her battles with obesity and multiple health problems was inspiring. Trust me, we're all poorer for losing her writing.

Second, what does this mean for those of us who are still writing? I can't pretend to be on a par with any of the three I mentioned, but it's still possible that someone beyond my control could read my blog, figure out who I am, and get me in trouble. I do try to maintain patient confidentiality and remain respectful to my patients, but you can't predict whose feelings will be hurt by something. In our litigious culture, it seems we have to aim not for what won't offend the masses but what won't offend the super sensitive.

My biggest motivation for writing this blog is to vent some of what I see and deal with at work. There's something healing about writing, and it's even better to find other people who are going through the same thing elsewhere. There's more potential for positive change when we can all recognize common problems--when you realize you're not alone. Through writing and reading medical blogs, there's a kind of network formed. Taking away those networks doesn't really benefit anybody, patients or doctors.

It just makes me uneasy and a little paranoid, knowing that there are people so easily convinced of the "problem" of medical blogging. Fitting, considering the rotation I'm on, I suppose. If I start looking over my shoulder and whispering that they're out to get me, just shoot me full of vitamin H, okay?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

First Days of Psych

I've been issued a key, for a mere $5 deposit, that will allow me into, and more importantly out of, the psych wards at the local psych hospital. My ward is special; it's the "forensics ward", aka "home to the people who are crazy in jail." Today, I sat in on the interviews of several patients who are also inmates. The stories I heard were incredible.

  • There was the young man who calmly told us that the voices in his head told him he needed to go back to county jail, so he could get put onto the regular floor, where he could purchase a razor and use it to kill himself. Needless to say, he didn't get discharged today.
  • There was a young woman with borderline personality disorder who burst into angry tears because the nurse dispensing medication was RUDE to her, that was a personal ATTACK, she wasn't doing ANYTHING wrong. This was a woman in her thirties receiving a lecture on how you can't control what other people do to you, you can only control how you react.
  • Another young woman detailed her slow slide into drug-dealing after running away from an abusive step-father who shot her mother. When she was living in abandoned houses, she was sexually assaulted numerous times, leaving her with no idea who the fathers of two of her children were.
  • A young man told us calmly about how he owned Microsoft, communicated with Halle Berry through the "ethernet" (which is the God-computer, the real God, and he's the commander, but he's about to retire at the age of 25), and he's been a comptroller since age 5, after he started several businesses. This poor man has smoked so much fry that it's likely that none of the antipsychotic meds will bring him back to a semblance of normal. Someone should put him on an anti-drug commercial.
  • My favorite patient today, though, was a man who came to this country illegally because he believed that America has treasure buried underground--one has only to dig it up! From what I can tell, he was arrested hacking at the ground with a machete, hollering about buried treasure. I don't even know if they took him to jail first, or if they brought him straight to the psych hospital.

I keep forgetting to use the key to get into the interview room to talk to patients. I keep forgetting that my key has to let me out of each of the double doors to the unit--but only into one door. And is it wrong of me to be a little excited that I get to walk out of this place every day?

Don't do drugs.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Quotes of the Day

From the comments to this post:

"Me..I get sick of: "So you want to be a GP? Aren't you too smart for that?"

Because people want stupid primary care doctors apparently."


From my paternal grandmother:

"So you have psychiatry next? Uh, that's nice! You wouldn't want to... do... that, right? Oh, good, I really don't trust that stuff."

I think I found the one specialty worse than urology!

And, perhaps my favorite...

"Happy Mother's Day!" -from me

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Coolest Thing

One extraordinary thing happened to me on OB/Gyn. I was on a night shift in the middle of the week. We had a patient whose baby had a poor heart rate tracing before any labor commenced. The plan was made to try cervadil to gently induce her labor, so that when the baby (inevitably) did not tolerate the contractions, we could remove it quickly. After that failed, we made plans for a cesarean later in the evening. Standing outside her room, waiting to wheel her to the OR, a young man walked out of her room, looked at me, and said "Don't I know you? Are you [Tiny], used to be [Tiny Surgeon]?"

As I stared at him, realizing who he must be, I asked him for his first name--it fit, and I said "You're [AB], aren't you? What the hell are you doing here???"

The reply: "I'm having a baby."

I knew this guy in elementary school. The last time I saw him was sixth grade, before I moved.

I walked him to the OR and pointed out the blue bunny suits, chatting a mile a minute the whole time. He's graduated, working for the family, getting married in the fall, buying a house--the whole nine yards. I caught him up on marriage, med school, and living away from West Texas. His fiancee was a very sweet and friendly girl--I liked her immensely. He did well for himself.

If he hadn't looked exactly the same as he did in elementary school, I'd never have recognized him. I'm not entirely sure how he recognized me--I'd like to think I no longer look like I did at the age of twelve, when my nickname was "porpoise nose". I'm sure I'm no taller than I was then, but the world is full of short women. Who knows? It was a totally surreal experience, and extremely cool. Oh, and his baby? A healthy, adorable boy; mom and baby are doing great.

What a great way to wrap up OB.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

My First Meme

I don't even know what "meme" means, or how you pronounce it, but I was tagged a little while ago by Midwife With a Knife to discuss 5 reasons I blog.

1) I need a place to vent. My long-suffering husband and friends hear me whine, bitch, and moan all day, every day. I'm not a soul to suffer in silence. Sometimes I feel like I have to spill all this venom so that I can continue to see the things I see all day. Just think--this is only medical school! Just wait till residency!

2) I'm kinda narcissistic, and there's something satisfying about seeing my words come up on a colorful website. Occasionally, I go back and look through my old posts and congratulate myself for being so damn witty. I'm very humble, too.

3) Re: #2 above, I kinda like that a few people read this. Even if they read it once, say "Ugh, what a whiner" and go away, I still kinda like it. It's like those billboards that say "Do billboards work? This one just did!" Yes, I'm one of those bloggers who checks their stats obsessively. It beats studying.

4) I mentioned the shiny, pretty colors, right?

5) I always had a dream of writing a novel or short story, something creative. However, I'm not sure I'm actually creative enough. The crafts I'm best at involve dexterity and perseverance rather than ingenuity. Writing about the things that happen to me every day gives me a small creative outlet and a chance to be somewhat literary--giving an old dream CPR, if you will. I also enjoy trying to be funny, so when I see a funny situation or think of a particularly silly line, I like to "share" it with as many people as possible.

I'll add #6: I read quite a few blogs myself, and I felt like I could add stories to the world of medical bloggers that hadn't been told yet.

It really all comes down to me having a large ego, really. Thanks for reading!

As far as tagging anyone, I'm not sure who reads this blog who hasn't already participated in this "meme" thing, but if you read this and haven't done this, consider yourself tagged!